x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Voting for our country, whoever the candidate

They had different reasons for being there, but the Iraqis who turned out to vote all did so for love of country.

ABU DHABI // They had different reasons for being there, but the Iraqis who turned out to vote all did so for love of country. Samer Bunni, and his wife Najwana, have a family here in the UAE. "The bombings cause us pain no matter where they take place, it's all a part of us," said Mr Bunni. "We wish to be able to visit, have our kids smell the air of Iraq. For them to know where their roots are."

Ibtisam Khalil, a housewife, said whenever she hears of bombings she realises "it could have been me". "I want the people to focus on its unity, to be independent," she said. "I would like a government that won't be susceptible to the same kind of interference from Iran, said Hameed Alenizy, an English teacher. Lamees Bazirjan, the owner of Qibab Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi, was one of many hoping for change.

"If everything gets better, Id love to see Baghdad again. I don't want to see it with blood everywhere. It isn't easy for us to leave our country." Hussein Ali, an English teacher based in Abu Dhabi, said he was ready to sacrifice everything for Iraq. Dr Moner Jabir, who works at Gulf Diagnostic Centre Hospital, was voting at the last minute with his wife, whose sister remains in Iraq.

"I want a government that will realise the hopes of the people, and reinstate security in Iraq," said Mr Jabir. "The country's infrastructure, electricity, water, most services are gone." Muthana al Bustani, an electrical engineer, and Saba al Sharifi, a housewife, agreed one one thing: that the candidates they voted for deserve their support.
Hadeel Al Sayegh